Two Wheels, Three Wheels or Four?
Gibbs Introduced the Biski, Triski and Terraquad at the AIMExpo.
WANTED — Manufacturer(s) interested in building Gibbs Amphibians' next generation of fast amphibians.
Gibbs brought three fast amphibian concepts to the American International Motorcycle Expo in Orlando, Fla. — the Biski, a two-wheeler; Triski, three wheels; and the Terraquad, a side-by-side four wheeler.
But Gibbs isn't planning on building these new vehicles. It's hoping to find a partner that would build the vehicles under license. Think major powersports players such as Yamaha, BRP or Kawasaki.
The Biski is attracting the most attention because, in theory, it could be sold as a road-legal vehicle in the U.S. market. Four-wheelers such as the Quadski and Terraquad cannot be made road legal in the U.S. The Triski also could be made road legal.
Here's a closer look at the three new vehicles.
Biski — Following the naming convention started with the Quadski, the Biski is a two-wheel amphibian. Gibbs says the amphibike has 55 horsepower on water from a two-cylinder engine of undisclosed displacement. Gibbs doesn't offer a horsepower rating for land, but if it follows the lead of the Quadski, power will be reduced for use outside the water.
The 503-pound (228 kg) cycle is capable of 80 mph on land and 37 mph on water. Interestingly, while the Biski's rear tire retracts for use on water, the front wheel is fixed. While the idea of a relatively narrow amphibian like the Biski seems odd, the video of it on the ponds on The Farm, the waterfront compound owned by founder Alan Gibbs, shows that the company's engineers have sweated the details. To give it water stability, Gibbs had to give the Biski fairly wide, low sponsons, which look like they would limit the bike's ability to lean over in turns while on roads.
The Gibbs Quadski is a straddle-style three-wheeler.
Triski — Think CanAm Spyder that can go on water. While the concept doesn't have the dynamic styling of the CanAm, it does have the same reverse-trike layout. The Triski looks somewhat like the front end of a Quadski grafted to single-wheel setup in back. While there appears to be some similarities to the Quadski, there are significant differences. Most notably, the Triski uses a turbocharged two-cylinder engine producing 135 horsepower on water. Again, no displacement is offered and there is no information on whether the three wheeler would have less power on land. Weight — at 1,323 pounds (600 kg) — is similar to the Quadski, despite having one less wheel.
Prior to its introduction, FastAmphibians.com speculated that the Triski could be similiar to the larger Polaris Slingshot, a radical new side-by-side three-wheeler.
The Terraquad includes a small bed behind a bench seat.
Terraquad — Want a fast amphibian that works hard? The Terraquad is a two-seat side by side with a bed in back. It looks like the Terraquad could have a lot in common with Quadski. it has the same 140 horsepower on water from a four cylinder engine. That engine could be the same as the 1.3-liter BMW motorcycle engine in the Quadski, but Gibbs didn't specify.
Unlike Gibbs' other sports amphibians, the Terraquad features rack-and-pinion steering with a novel approach to stability. Knowing that the weight of a single rider would create balance issues for what amounts to a seven-foot boat, the Terraquad has a sliding steering wheel that allows the driver to seat on either side or the middle.
The Terraquad weighs 1,522 pounds (690 kg) and is capable of 50 mph on land and 45 in the water.
Like all of Gibbs amphibians, the three concepts are all able to transition between water and land modes in about five seconds or less.
As a private company, Gibbs doesn't release production or sales figures, but there's little doubt Quadski sales have been disappointing. Will that marginal sales record encourage one of the major powersports players to take on Gibbs' new amphibians? Time will tell.